I am very pleased to welcome to the blog romance author and former TV news writer Lynn Montagano, fresh off the April release of her debut novel with HarperImpulse!
A fresh, new voice in contemporary romance, Lynn is a former TV news writer who decided to take the plunge and write a novel. She's thrilled that her debut, Catch My Breath, was published by Harper Impulse in April 2014.
Lynn grew up in a small town in Rhode Island before venturing out into the world. An avid traveler, she's been as far away as Australia and as close as Canada. Her favorite place to visit is London.
For now, the small town New Englander hangs her hat in Northern California. If you can see her through the fog, wave hello.
Lynn, before we get into your contemporary romance writing, tell us a bit about your experiences as a TV news writer.
It’s not as glamorous as you would think! I worked the evening and late news shift so I’d walk into the newsroom at 4pm and have to jump into writing right away for the 5pm and 6pm shows. Most days it was pretty tame but there was the occasional breaking news story that the producers would assign to me. Those were more stressful because information was constantly changing and I had to be sure the correct info was added to the script.
Writing the other stories was pretty straight-forward. I’d either have to condense an article into a 30 second read or piece together information from press releases, police reports, etc. The most important aspect was writing the story in a clear, conversational tone, so it would sound natural coming out of the anchor’s mouth. I always had their voices in my head when I’d write.
Don’t get me wrong. There were days when I felt like banging my head against the desk or hiding in an editing suite but for the most part I loved it. The people I worked with all had big personalities and were fun to be around.
When did you first think about writing for publication and how was that transition from news to fiction?
When I decided to write my series I wasn’t planning on having it published. I just sort of wrote it for myself as a challenge and then put it aside. The transition from news to fiction, for me, was easy. Since I’d always written with somebody else’s voice in my head, creating the characters and their dialogue came very naturally for me. I also enjoyed the freedom of writing something longer than 30 seconds. Something else that was helpful in the transition from news to novel was the practice of self-editing. When I wrote a news story, I couldn’t be overly wordy. That definitely helped in tightening the prose and keeping the pace of the story moving.
Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.
I can juggle. Not chainsaws or burning sticks or anything! Just basic, little things like golf balls, tennis balls, etc. I learned when I was a freshman in high school for a musical we were doing. It was called Under the Big Top and some of the cast had to juggle on stage. I didn’t have to but was curious to learn so I did.
Catch My Breath follows the emotionally charged romance of all-American girl, Lia Meyers and mysterious Englishman, Alastair Holden. Both of them are trying to overcome painful pasts and the story is their journey to each other. It’s sassy, feisty, humorous, frustrating and, yes, sexy.
Is the anticipation the same for the pending print release as it was for the e-book release? (Note to readers: “Catch My Breath” will be released in print on July 10 and is available for pre-order.)
It totally is! This is the first novel I’ve ever written and to see it released in print is an absolute dream come true. I can’t wait. I may sleep with it under my pillow for a few nights….
What made you decide on Scotland as a setting for your first novel?
I love the United Kingdom. Love it. I’ve been there so many times I feel like an honorary resident. I was on vacation in Scotland about 8 years ago with a friend of mine and had been toying around with different places for my characters to meet. Since the story revolves around an American girl and a British guy, I thought Scotland would be a great place to start their journey. Having a trans-Atlantic romance also enabled me to use a few different settings, like Orlando and London, too.
If there is one character you’ve written or are writing that you would really like people to meet, who would it be and why?
I’ve only ever written the characters from this series! I think people would really like Lia, and her friends, Stephanie and Darren if they met them. Alastair, too, even though he’s a bit of a pill sometimes. I wanted to create characters that were real and that I would be friends with if they existed. I look at Lia, Stephanie and Darren as people you can identify with, laugh with (or at) and root for, just like any friend you’d have in real life.
Alastair is the type of person who, although can be challenging, has much more depth than he reveals. I’ve known people like him and can also identify with his tendency to be closed off. I genuinely think people would enjoy spending time with each one of them.
What about being published with HarperImpulse and the book industry in general has most surprised you?
There’s a saying we use in television - “Hurry up and wait.” Basically, everything is of the utmost importance and has to be done immediately and then…..nothing. There’s a lot of waiting in the book industry. More than I expected. Thankfully, I’m a patient person so it doesn’t bother me at all but I think it’s important for an aspiring author to know that right off the bat. When things get moving, they move at lightning speed. Until then, grab a tea or coffee, sit back and relax.
Is there someone you can point to as being your biggest encouragement in moving forward with writing?
Obviously, my close friends and family have been my biggest supporters. What I didn’t expect was the amount of support I’d receive from writing communities and other aspiring authors. I’ve met some really great people over the last few years and we’re all each other’s cheerleaders.
This is my first time being published and having so many friends, family members, bloggers and readers encouraging me is fantastic. And I haven’t even mentioned my editor, Charlotte, and the entire team at Harper Impulse! I’m truly grateful for all their support.
What is next up for you?
I’m putting the final touches on my edits for the second book in this series, called Unravel Me, while at the same time polishing up the third book, called Effortless. It’ll be a busy summer that’s for sure!
I’ve also started outlining some thoughts for a new contemporary romance with a dash of paranormal. Stay tuned….
To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one. Here they go!
- What is your favorite word? YES
- What is your least favorite word? No
- What turns you on? A great sense of humor, people who don’t take themselves too seriously….and Tom Brady.
- What turns you off? People who are constantly negative or never see the joy in anything
- What sound or noise do you love? The absolute silence of snow falling
- What sound or noise do you hate? When someone chews with their mouth open. Gross.
- What is your favorite curse word? It’s more of a phrase than a word: Christ on a cracker
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Criminal psychologist for the FBI. And I’ve always wanted to be the White House Press Secretary.
- What profession would you not like to do? Anything where I’d have to get dirty, like cleaning out a sewer.
- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “Well done, Lynn. The martini bar is to the left.”
- What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? “Who are you wearing?” (as I’m walking the red carpet at the premiere of the movie/TV series based on my trilogy).
Lynn, thanks so much for spending time with us. Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your books?
"Catch My Breath" available in e-book now and in print on July 10th!
Barnes and Noble